• Across the two pivotal trials, RINVOQ delivered rapid and meaningful disease control with nearly half of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients achieving ASAS40 (51% and 44.5% with RINVOQ versus 26% and 18.2% with placebo) at week 14 compared to placebo1
  • RINVOQ demonstrated significant improvement in signs and symptoms of AS at week 141-4
  • FDA approval in AS marks the fifth indication for RINVOQ in chronic immune-mediated diseases1

NORTH CHICAGO, IL, USA I April 29, 2022 I AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved RINVOQ® (upadacitinib; 15 mg, once daily) for the treatment of adults with active ankylosing spondylitis (AS) who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to one or more tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers.1

“Ankylosing spondylitis is a debilitating disease that often affects younger adults and, over time, can result in lasting structural damage that can take an emotional toll on a patient’s life,” said Thomas Hudson, M.D., senior vice president, research and development, chief scientific officer, AbbVie. “This latest approval demonstrates another important step forward in our mission to advance the standards of care in rheumatic diseases.”

The FDA approval in AS is supported by efficacy and safety data from the Phase 3 SELECT-AXIS 2 clinical trial (Study 1) evaluating RINVOQ in patients who had an inadequate response or intolerance to one or two biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) and the Phase 2/3 SELECT-AXIS 1 clinical trial evaluating RINVOQ in patients who were naïve to bDMARDs and had an inadequate response or intolerance to at least two nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).1-3 

“Many patients with ankylosing spondylitis do not achieve disease control with current biologic therapies and additional treatments are needed to help relieve the signs and symptoms of this disease,” said Atul Deodhar, M.D., professor of medicine and medical director of the Rheumatology Clinics for the Division of Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases at Oregon Health & Science University, and investigator of the SELECT-AXIS 1 trial. “With today’s FDA approval, patients who do not respond to a TNF inhibitor have an additional oral treatment option, in partnership with their rheumatologist, to help take control of this disease.”

In both SELECT-AXIS 1 and SELECT-AXIS 2 clinical trials, a significantly greater proportion of patients receiving RINVOQ 15 mg achieved an ASAS40* response, the primary endpoint, (51% and 44.5%, respectively) compared to those receiving placebo (26% and 18.2%, respectively) at week 14. Clinical responses were observed as early as week four in SELECT-AXIS 2 for ASAS40.1,3

“Currently, there are limited treatment options for people living with ankylosing spondylitis, particularly when painful symptoms persist despite being on a TNF blocker treatment,” said Cassie Shafer, chief executive officer, Spondylitis Association of America (SAA). “The approval of a new medicine is welcome news to our community of patients, offering the potential to help more people find meaningful relief from the symptoms of AS and to help reach their treatment goals.”

AS is a chronic inflammatory musculoskeletal disease primarily affecting the spine and characterized by debilitating symptoms of inflammatory back pain, stiffness and restricted mobility. An estimated one out of every 200 adults in the U.S., or approximately 1.1 million people, is affected by AS.5

Additional study results include the following:

Improvement in AS Signs & Symptoms at Week 141-3

Treatment with RINVOQ 15 mg resulted in improvements in the signs and symptoms of AS, including total back pain, as well as improvements in physical function (Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index (BASFI)) and disease activity (Patient Global Assessment of Disease Activity) versus placebo at week 14. 

In SELECT-AXIS 2, patients receiving RINVOQ 15 mg at week 14 experienced:

  • A significantly greater mean decrease from baseline in Total Back Pain (-3.1 change from baseline) compared to those receiving placebo (-1.5).6
  • A significantly greater improvement in physical function (-2.3 change from baseline) as assessed by mean change from baseline in BASFI compared to patients on placebo (-1.09).6

*ASAS40 is a composite index that measures disease activity.2 To achieve an ASAS40 response, a patient’s disease activity must have improved by at least 40%, as well as improved by two units in at least three of four disease areas assessed, and the remaining area must not have gotten worse, including back pain, patient global assessment of disease activity, physical functional and morning stiffness.2


  • Overall, the safety profile observed in patients with active AS treated with RINVOQ 15 mg was consistent with the safety profile observed in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.1
  • RINVOQ may cause serious side effects, including:
    • Serious infections. RINVOQ can lower your ability to fight infections. Serious infections, some fatal, occurred while taking RINVOQ, including tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses.
    • Increased risk of death in people 50 years and older with at least 1 heart disease risk factor.
    • Cancer and immune system problems. RINVOQ may increase your risk of certain cancers, including lymphoma and skin cancer. Current or past smokers are at higher risk for lymphoma and lung cancer.
    • Increased risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death in people 50 years and older with at least 1 heart disease risk factor, especially in current or past smokers.
    • Blood clots, some fatal, in the veins of the legs or lungs and arteries. This occurred more often in people 50 years and older with at least 1 heart disease risk factor.
    • Serious allergic reactions. Do not take if allergic to RINVOQ or any of its ingredients.
    • Tears in the stomach or intestines and changes in certain laboratory test results.

For more information about RINVOQ in AS, visit RINVOQ.com.

Patient Access & Support
AbbVie is committed to helping people access RINVOQ and other medicines, including offering a patient support program and a co-pay card that may reduce out-of-pocket costs to $5 per month for eligible, commercially insured patients. For those with limited or no health insurance, AbbVie offers myAbbVie Assist, a patient assistance program that provides RINVOQ at no charge to those who qualify. For more details, please visit AbbVie.com/myAbbVieAssist.

About SELECT-AXIS 1 and SELECT-AXIS 2 trial programs2,3
SELECT-AXIS 1 is a Phase 2/3, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of RINVOQ in adult patients with active ankylosing spondylitis (AS) who are bDMARD-naïve and had inadequate response to at least two NSAIDs or intolerance to/contraindication for NSAIDs. Period 2 is an open-label extension period to evaluate the long-term safety, tolerability and efficacy of RINVOQ in subjects who completed Period 1. More information on this trial can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03178487).

SELECT-AXIS 2 was conducted as a master study protocol that contains two standalone studies with randomization, data collection, analysis and reporting conducted independently. The Phase 3, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies are evaluating the efficacy and safety of RINVOQ compared with placebo on reduction of signs and symptoms in adult participants with active axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA), including bDMARD-IR AS (Study 1) and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA) (Study 2). More information on this trial can be found at https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ (NCT04169373).

In both clinical trials, the primary endpoint was the percentage of subjects achieving an ASAS40 response after 14 weeks of treatment with RINVOQ versus placebo.

About RINVOQ® (upadacitinib)
Discovered and developed by AbbVie scientists, RINVOQ is a selective JAK inhibitor that is being studied in several immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. Based on enzymatic and cellular assays, RINVOQ demonstrated greater inhibitory potency for JAK-1 vs JAK-2, JAK-3, and TYK-2.1 The relevance of inhibition of specific JAK enzymes to therapeutic effectiveness and safety is not currently known.

In the U.S., RINVOQ 15 mg is approved for adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to one or more TNF blockers; adults with active psoriatic arthritis who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to one or more TNF blockers; and adults with active ankylosing spondylitis (AS) who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to one or more tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers.1 RINVOQ 45 mg is approved for use in adult patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to one or more TNF blockers as an induction therapy once daily for 8 weeks. The recommended dose of RINVOQ for maintenance treatment is 15 mg once daily. A dosage of 30 mg once daily may be considered for patients with refractory, severe or extensive disease. Discontinue RINVOQ if an adequate response is not achieved with the 30 mg dose. Use the lowest effective dosage needed to maintain response. RINVOQ 15 mg once daily can also be initiated in adults and children 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg with refractory, moderate to severe atopic dermatitis whose disease is not adequately controlled with other system drug products, including biologics or when use of those therapies is inadvisable. In these children and adults less than 65 years of age who do not achieve an adequate response, the dose may be increased to 30 mg once daily.

Phase 3 trials of RINVOQ in rheumatoid arthritis, atopic dermatitis, psoriatic arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, giant cell arteritis and Takayasu arteritis are ongoing.7-13

Please click here for the Full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide.

Globally, prescribing information varies; refer to the individual country product label for complete information.

About AbbVie in Rheumatology
For more than 20 years, AbbVie has been dedicated to improving care for people living with rheumatic diseases. Anchored by a longstanding commitment to discovering and delivering transformative therapies, we pursue cutting-edge science that improves our understanding of promising new pathways and targets, ultimately helping more people living with rheumatic diseases reach their treatment goals. For more information, visit AbbVie in rheumatology.

About AbbVie
AbbVie’s mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people’s lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, and women’s health, in addition to products and services across our Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn or Instagram.


  1. RINVOQ® (upadacitinib) [Package Insert]. North Chicago, Ill.: AbbVie Inc.
  2. Van der Heijde, D., et al. Efficacy and safety of upadacitinib in patients with active ankylosing spondylitis (SELECT-AXIS 1): a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2/3 trial. Lancet. 2019 Dec 7;394(10214):2108-2117. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)32534-6. Epub 2019 Nov 12.
  3. A Study to Evaluate Efficacy and Safety of Upadacitinib in Adult Participants With Axial Spondyloarthritis (SELECT AXIS 2). ClinicalTrials.gov. Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04169373. Accessed on April 29, 2022.
  4. Cohen S., et al. Safety profile of upadacitinib in rheumatoid arthritis: integrated analysis from the SELECT phase III clinical programme. Ann Rheum Dis. 2020 Oct 28;80(3):304-11.
  5. Reveille J. D. (2011). Epidemiology of spondyloarthritis in North America. The American journal of the medical sciences. 341(4), 284–286. https://doi.org/10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31820f8c99.
  6. Data on File. ABVRRTI73541.
  7. Burmester G.R., et al. Safety and efficacy of upadacitinib in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and inadequate response to conventional synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (SELECT-NEXT): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2018 Jun 23;391(10139):2503-2512. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31115-2. Epub 2018 Jun 18.
  8. A Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of ABT-494 for Induction and Maintenance Therapy in Subjects With Moderately to Severely Active Ulcerative Colitis. ClinicalTrials.gov. Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02819635. Accessed on April 29, 2022.
  9. A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of ABT-494 for the Induction of Symptomatic and Endoscopic Remission in Subjects With Moderately to Severely Active Crohn’s Disease Who Have Inadequately Responded to or Are Intolerant to Immunomodulators or Anti-TNF Therapy. ClinicalTrials.gov. Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02365649. Accessed on April 29, 2022.
  10. A Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Upadacitinib in Participants With Giant Cell Arteritis (SELECT-GCA). ClinicalTrials.gov. Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03725202. Accessed: April 29, 2022.
  11. A Study Comparing Upadacitinib (ABT-494) to Placebo and to Adalimumab in Participants With Psoriatic Arthritis Who Have an Inadequate Response to at Least One Non-Biologic Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug (SELECT – PsA 1). ClinicalTrials.gov.  Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03104400. Accessed on April 29, 2022.
  12. A Study to Compare Safety and Efficacy of Upadacitinib to Dupilumab in Adult Participants With Moderate to Severe Atopic Dermatitis (Heads Up). ClinicalTrials.gov.  Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03738397. Accessed: April 29, 2022.
  13. A Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Upadacitinib in Subjects With Takayasu Arteritis (SELECT-TAK). ClinicalTrials.gov.  Available at https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/record/NCT04161898. Accessed: April 29, 2022.